For me, close to a slice of home off South La Brea.
Growing up in D.C., truth be told, I had access to a bunch of foods that I had no idea were local only.
Take for example the Half-Smoke, a semi-spicy Pork Breakfast sausage that’s just available everywhere. You can get ’em at Ben’s Chili Bowl. You can get ’em at the Ball Park.
You just can’t get ’em outside of the Maryland-DC-Virginia area.
Imagine my surprise, when…visiting Yankee Stadium for the first time, sauntering up to the Hot Dog line and asking for a Half-Smoke. Yes, they looked at me like I was an alien from outer space.
All my life growing up, I had Roast Beef Sandwiches with Horseradish and Barbecue sauce on ’em. We used to get ’em at the Roy Rogers on University Blvd. in College Park. (It’s a Hardees now…I think). But what I didn’t know at the time, they were really Pit Beef Sandwiches, a sandwich very native to the Baltimore Area, and that Horseradish Sauce wasn’t Horseradish, it was Tiger Sauce. Tiger Sauce is a bit different in that you cut the powerful, powerful Horseradish with mayo, giving it a sweet, creamy zing to your sandwich.
I thought I had lost access to those Sandwiches forever, but it seems not to be the case.
Top Round Roast Beef is basically a diner, a drive-thru. I mean, that’s the way it looks when you pull up. You’ve left modern America, and arrived in the 1950s. You can order from the window (not a Drive-thru window, mind you) or inside. Either way, you’ll get a lovely sandwich, layered with Roast Beef, and served on a very nice Onion Roll bun, something they didn’t do in Maryland.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: That being said, the Horseradish sauce they serve up at Top Round Roast Beef is…well, Horseradish sauce, and not Tiger Sauce. C’est La Vie. Just go in knowing that this stuff packs a sinus-clearing punch. Be gentle with it, and more generous with the Barbecue Sauce. No, nothing for Gus’s or Goode Company to worry about, but sweet and tangy. A nice complement.
I went with the first thing on the menu, the Beef on Weck, first thing on the menu, and…let’s put it this way, all these weeks later, I’m still thinking about it. So yeah, I’d totally wreck one of those again.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Nothing at all to be worried about, or will surprise you. I will say this, if you’re going in expecting a 100% Maryland like experience, it won’t be happening.
PARKING: Pretty damn good all things considered. Top Round Roast Beef is situated on a corner, so you’d think there wouldn’t be a lot of real estate on this pie shaped property. Fortunately, the owners put the parking toward the fat-end, or crust end of the pie. So even during a lunch crush mid-Saturday, there were enough spaces that I could get in, have me a sandwich and roll.
Top Round Roast Beef
1000 S. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Tel: (323) 549-9445
Daily: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm